Dynamic decision making in safety critical systems: How we can use basic and applied research to design safer and more efficient work systems
In this talk, I will describe a program of basic and applied research designed to enhance our understanding of human decision making in safety-critical systems. I will start by describing studies that we have conducted with air traffic controllers and fire ground commanders examining the way that they make decisions in real-time. These studies illustrate the way that expert decision makers make tradeoffs amongst competing goals, such as safety and efficiency, and the role that workload management plays in this process. I then report a series of laboratory and field studies that examine aspects of this process at different levels of analysis. These include studies examining the dynamics of goal setting and goal striving, and consider the ways in which the cognitive, motivational and affective components of the self-regulatory system interact over time. I describe the applications of this work in areas such as workload management, hazard and risk analysis, and systems design and analysis.